Monday, February 01, 2010

The Laramie Project

I just saw this performed last weekend.

I'm not sure what to think about it. Of course, it pulls your heart-strings. And it's a powerful story of a guy who got beaten to death. Bringing that play to Big Fork, MN must have been a huge undertaking. Actually, getting the cast and crew together to put on a performance that good must also have been an incredible challenge.

Enormous kudos to the Edge Center for The Arts, the performers who were able to, well, act. Really well.

The script and the performance ask a few things of me. They ask what I can do to stop this. The first thing that went through my tactless (see posts below) mind was that I really wanted to go out and beat up some haters.

Another thing, though well addressed both in the show and the after-discussion, is this: people die every day. And not just people starving who can't afford to eat well enough to live half a world away. But people for many reasons that are shocking to anyone who hasn't spent time with them . . . die horrible, brutal, deaths every single day. In fact, many people so.

So why this intense focus on one community where one murder happened? Why the focus on one kid?

Why is Laramie such a big deal? More people are murdered in a brutal way in Dallas, TX every day than Laramie sees brutally murdered every 10 years.

Well, I have two answers.

1. Either we accept a society of violence and brutality


2. We accept a society of violence and brutality.

We have accepted and agreed to participate in a society in which X number of people will die for x, y, and z, reasons.

It doesn't matter what those reasons are. In fact, we have, agreed that certain losses are both acceptable and necessary for our society to function. Those losses are measured in cadavers sent to medical schools.

I disagree.

I emphatically do NOT accept those losses as normal in a civilized society.

One of the biggest and most painful things to attack human rights is post-9/11 legislation. And it's not even the legislation that is the worst.

The fundamental idea behind the Patriot Act is that it's okay to hunt and kill anyone who you don't like. Cause? Screw it. Evidence? Screw it. Habeas? Screw it.

We don't need that kind of legal BS to justify what we are going to do: kill a bunch of innocent people to obtain an end.

Hating and hurting and beating gay people is where an unconstitutional war against other countries starts. Not where it ends.

We justified war against a nation that had nothing to do with us. Is it any surprise that we can't get any motion in favor of gay marriage?

We are both legally and religiously incompetent to deal with our issues. Our religion hates just as much as their's does. Our governments convene just like it's a girlscout meeting.

I hate to sound nuts . . . and I probably do sound nuts, but we have have a bit of tidying up of our own we need to deal with before we go around telling the rest of the world what to do.

Especially since we've created a mess out of everything we've ever been involved with. Possible examples include Japan, South Korea, South Africa (oh, I dare someone to be proud of that), and Western Europe.

What is the guideline that defines success?

So so far no one knows. This is the problem the Supreme Court faced in the 60s, and it's the same problem we all have deal with now.

When we look at the problems in the world, there's no real process or goal, or anything meaningful.

It's just a mess of posturing.

But the Laramie project is a start. In my opinion it's more important than anything the UN or the US or anyone is doing. I don't think I made my point entirely clear when
I pointed out how hard it is for people to change a habit of hate.

How can we change an entire country's habit of hate?

For the first time in my life, I was able to say something in the company of homosexuals that I hope benefited homosexuals, and I didn't really feel like I needed to point out that I was straight.

When I said, "We need to talk about something besides tolerance. We need a new word. You tolerate an itch or a leaky faucet. You tolerate someone who irritates you. We need a new word for this. Or rather, we need to simply stop being irritated by people who are different from us." I wasn't saying that as a gay man or a straight man. I was saying that ALL PEOPLE need to make careful use of their words.

Tolerance is the wrong word.

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